Don’t Give Consumers Too Many Visual Choices

Online shoppers love seeing images of products, but when the number of choices is high, visuals become confusing and presentation of the options in text form helps consumers make better decisions, say Claudia Townsend of the University of Miami and Barbara E. Kahn of The Wharton School. A high number of visual options can also prompt consumers to give up trying to choose: Asked to select among 27 types of crackers, participants in an experiment were 5 times more likely to pick “none of the above” if the choices were presented visually rather than in words. Text prompts a slower, more systematic mental-processing style, the researchers say.

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SOURCE: The “Visual Preference Heuristic”: The Influence of Visual versus Verbal Depiction on Assortment Processing, Perceived Variety, and Choice Overload


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